As expected, the court case was dropped prior to the Crown Court hearing. A big thank you to everyone who showed solidarity and supported the squatting scene in Taunton.
Yesterday, Thursday 12th May, the two defendants of the Eagle Tavern Squatting Case (that occured on the 20th of last month) both pleaded not guilty and no plea to charges of ‘abstracting electricity without authority’ and ‘burglary – with intent to cause criminal damage’ at the Magistrates Court in Taunton, Somerset.
Much support was shown for the two South-West activists, also known as the ‘Taunton Two’, with people in and around the Taunton area waiting outside the court to show their solidarity. Family, friends and those concerned about the Squatting Movement in Taunton also showed their support as part of the public gallery.
The case has been adjourned for the Crown Court on July 7th, however there is a good chance it won’t get there due to lack of evidence; most of which has been made up or wrongly assumed. The case intends to raise awareness about the current Squatting scene in Taunton, and will hopefully gain even more support than has already been shown.
Thankyou to everyone who attended the court case, and supported the activists and the greater cause, especially those sporting the last-minute Bash Back! theme. We hope to maintain the current interest and support behind the Squatting movement in the South-West, and to continue spreading the increasing positivity!
On Saturday 7th May 2011 a meeting was held at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair regarding the Squatting Law, the upcoming changes, the impact it has on Bristol squatters and action to take for the future. The meeting, titled ‘Squattastic Bristol’ was an open discussion with both squatters and non-squatters concerned of recent events in Bristol, Brighton, London and elsewhere. Packed into a small room, every point raised in the meeting was respected, and many ideas were put forward. The meeting raised many questions for us all to think about now and in the future:
What is the new law? How does it affect squatters and travellers?
It was explained that the new ‘law’ is to effectively remove Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. This would make squatting a criminal offence of trespass, regardless of whether the land or building is occupied or not. So far only 23 MP’s have supported the EDM and it hasn’t progressed beyond this point.
How to deal with police in future evictions?
The main tactic put forward was the ‘Phone Tree’ network, to use during and prior to evictions. The Phone Tree works exactly as it suggests, with any squatters in the case of an eviction sending out texts to any contacts that can get to the squat immediately, and can also forward texts to their contacts; gaining power in numbers and spreading the message in an easy and efficient way. Illegal evictions, in Bristol particularly, have been successfully resisted by these means, with people ‘head-to-toe in black’ acting as a sufficient deterrant to the police and bailiffs.
S.N.O.B (Squatters Network Of Brighton) – gave out their contact number
Following evictions in Brighton, SNOB are now working on expanding their phone-tree.
New upcoming Squat for Bridgwater?
A member of S.W.A.N (South West Anti-Nuclear) mentioned that they are in need of a new squatted social centre in Bridgwater in the near future. The centre would be used as a base for S.W.A.N and further promotion for the Stop Hinkley campaign.
The Media and its role in the Squatting Movement
The question was raised at the meeting, should we get corporate media on our side and do we need them? It was generally agreed that mass media will always be a lost cause, which has been accepted and dealt with through the use of independent forms of media, such as Bristol Indymedia, and we should be focusing on using this more to our advantage and promoting squatting as its rightful way of life.
Following recent events, some squatters are concerned that ‘irrational’ violence towards police does not help the squatting movement. This may be the case, but it was reminded that the media will always be biased, and by condemning those causing violence only encourages the concept of ‘good squatter, bad squatter’, which is not what most people want. Furthermore it lacks understanding as to why squatters feel angry and disempowered to act in such a way, although tactical criticism should always be encouraged. It was also reminded that we should be promoting squatting as a principal and human right, not because of its ‘good’ connotations.
Expanding the Squatting Network
The issue was raised at the end of the meeting, what exactly is our overall strategy? It was suggested that the squatting network is expanded to smaller towns/cities that don’t have a squatting community, but are easily able to gain support by doing so. Alternatively the idea was to focus on Bristol, Brighton and London, by strengthening contacts within these networks, and potentially branching out within these cities.
By expanding the network to smaller towns, the focus would be taken from Bristol, Brighton and London and would symbolise the importance of squatting for everyone – not just those in larger cities. If the squatting community expands, then even more support could be gained for the future, although this can be challenging without enough numbers to support such projects. Other concerns of expanding the network were that it may increase negativity towards squatting by any communties already under threat.
Expanding the network seems a likely plan of action however, especially towards Somerset, with rumours of activity in Glastonbury and future plans for Taunton and Bridgwater. Additional benefits to these rural areas would be the likely support from current and ex-travellers, such as in Taunton, where a phone-tree is being created between squatters, supporters, and the local travelling community.
Reposted from 325 Collective:
4th April – informal anarchists
“last night we torched three big vans inside the “secured” compound of the probation office in saint pauls – just off stokes croft, bristol. we recognise the probation service as a soft-cog of the workings of the state. keeping tabs and tags on you, trying to make you calm down, when all within your vision and grasp reeks of the shit they would have us swallow. they don’t crack your skull or wear a padded uniform but they sure as hell sell you out as a living breathing human being, these robots of the courts should be treated with contempt at every chance.
the defenders of the existing order – and indeed its’ false critics – want stoke’s croft /saint pauls to return to the quasi-militarized surveyed “normality” of Capitalist Peace. for those who break with this cage and choose to start their battle for complete liberation here and now in their surroundings, who choose the fierce joy and sometimes overwhelming passion of a life striking against the tensions mediating their existence, this Peace can no longer exist. WE DO NOT WANT TO RETURN TO THEIR “NORMALITY”, NOR COULD WE WITHOUT FEELING THE WEIGHT IN OUR HEARTS OF THE LIE. as we have seen, this tension is not felt by us only…
in revenge and solidarity for all the arrested in the stoke’s croft riots and telepathic heights eviction, for the taunton squatters, for those raided in london, brighton, edinburgh, bologna… but mostly for ourselves.
we also send our warmest anarchist greetings to our unknown comrades in fire in nottingham, and welcome the recent attacks on banks in birmingham. we return the salute from the 1st may statement from linz.
until next time”
Disclaimer: It goes without saying that nothing contained on this website is intended to encourage or incite illegal acts. We do not encourage or incite any illegal activities.
Case update: The defendants are to plead not guilty on the 12th May, and the case will then be adjourned to a later date.
Support shown on the 12th May will be appreciated, and help to promote solidarity for any other cases in the near future.
Thankyou to everyone showing support so far, we will keep you updated.
Always remember the greater cause, and not the ones preventing it.
On our travels we noticed an interesting derelect council building, The Mount Nursery on Mount Street, with what initially looked like a planning application. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a possession order from the courts. We are pleased to see other squatters in Taunton, or so it seems, from as recent as February 2011.
If you were involved and want to get in touch with us contact us on taunton[at]riseup.net. Greetings from the anarcho-squatters!
On 20/04/2011 two South-West activists were unjustly arrested and charged for squatting a derelict building in the town of Taunton, Somerset; with the intentions to promote squatting as an alternative lifestyle and provide a centre in which social groups and communities can use.
It has been on the agenda to get a Social Centre up and running in Taunton for a while now, being a potential base for Taunton activist collective groups, and even more importantly being open to those of which squatting is a necessity.
The police broke into the secured building using angle grinders, and even arrested one of the activists on the street, acting as a legal observer. The activists were charged with the intent to cause criminal damage, burglary and abstracting electricity. The lack of evidence to support these charges further incriminates the police for unnecessary use of force and intimidation to evict the squatters from their rightful home.
The case has an indirect impact on the South-West Anarcho-Punk scene, with a member of Anonymous Promotions coming under attack. This could be a potential threat on the non-profit organisation and even the increasing Anarcho-Punk movement itself.
The Taunton Two need solidarity and support from those in favour of the Squatting Network, with the court date being on the 12/05/11 at 9.15am: Open to demonstations against the case and those of us against the upcoming Squatting Ban.
NOW IS THE TIME TO RESIST!
Taunton Two Solidarity facebook page:
Court Date facebook event:
For more information on the Taunton Activist Collective: